I’m finding work very tricky at the moment. It’s nothing serious, but rather lots of little things that are starting to add up.
For example. Yesterday I made a quiet request to my line manager, who works in the same office as me, that she talk to the buildings manager about putting a phone on my desk. When I’m in the office I fold up my wheelchair and put it in a corner – because staying in it can give me back problems – but the phone is over at the other side of the room, so I have to get out of my chair several times an hour to answer it, and this can be an effort, as getting out of a chair is often harder for me than walking. Recently I’ve just stopped answering it at all, but this isn’t ideal. Suddenly, about *seven* managers and maintance people start wandering into the office, demanding (loudly) to know what I want, telling me (more loudly) that it isn’t possible, and then storming out leaving me feeling appalling. This very public display of my disability was then extended into an office-wide discussion of what might be done to give me access to the phone, from which two options were raised: I either have to move desks, which I’m not happy about as I’m in an ideal place for everything else, or I have to stay in my wheelchair and wheel over to the desk. I left saying that I’d think about it another time, as I was so upset that I didn’t want to deal with it all. I don’t think that my access needs should be discussed so publicly and treated so tactlessly – but I’m terrified to raise it, because I don’t want to get a reputation for being difficult. I’ve already had two meetings with my line manager in which I said I wasn’t happy with aspects of the job. None of this is making me look like a dedicated professional.
This is all being made worse because the ironically-named Access to Work are being utterly crap. I’m being made to wait forever for a specialist consultant to come and assess my needs at work, meaning that I have nothing official to give to my employers, meaning that all the little changes I could do with are not happening. When I’ve raised some of these, I’ve had very little support from my managers, and nothing is changing. But again, since none of these are major issues, I don’t feel able to kick up a fuss about them. I’d look unprofessional and whiney.
Oh, and the job itself is turning out to be much less creative and interesting than I had originally been made to believe it would be. Working with the students is great, but I have very little responsibility, and there’s lots I’d like to get involved with that isn’t my remit. Also I’ve just been told that I have to see five (or more) students every (six-hour) day I work – and we’re talking seriously intensive one-to-one work here, for which I need time to plan and write up paperwork. Fortunately, the other person who does the same job as me isn’t mad on that idea either, so together we might be able to negotiate that down.
On the other hand, working with the students is REALLY great. And I’ve got several with interesting access and support needs. So this could eventually lead to more interesting work in the area of equality and diversity in a college. Which is something I’m very keen on.
So I’m going to sit here and nurse my stress headache, while thinking about whether I should just quit, or hang in there and try and work out what to do about the various problems. Blah.
I’m reading: The Book of Dave. A fantastically chilling juxtaposition of the present-day life of a deranged cab driver and the future dystopia that his unpleasant ideas create. Disturbingly thought-provoking satire. Oh, and it’s by the awesome Will Self. Absolutely everyone should read this.